AUGUSTA – Daniel Fortune of Augusta will spend the rest of his life in prison for his role in a machete attack during a home invasion that maimed a Pittston man and his 10-year-old daughter.

Fortune, 22, was sentenced Thursday in Kennebec County Superior Court to two concurrent life terms for the harm he did to the family of William Guerrette Jr., a former state legislator.

The prosecution had asked Justice Michaela Murphy to give Fortune two concurrent life sentences, the maximum allowed for the crime; the defense had recommended that Fortune spend an initial 25 years in prison.

Thursday’s hearing was the culmination of a chain of events that began in November 2007, when Fortune and another man stole a safe from the Guerrettes’ home containing $111,000 worth of property.

The machete attack before dawn on May 27, 2008, left Guerrette and his daughter, Nicole, with permanent brain injuries. Guerrette lost a finger and has scars on his left arm. Nicole bears scars as well, many of them covered by her long, dark hair.

“Please, your honor, make Dan go to jail for his life,” Nicole said Thursday. “Before the attack, I was a normal, healthy 10-year-old. I always felt happy and safe.”


She said she now struggles in school because of her injuries and has problems keeping friends.

William Guerrette told the judge that when he and his wife went to Utah to adopt Nicole, they intended to give her the best life possible. “I never dreamed we would give her something like this,” he said.

Guerrette said the intruders slashed open his head, removing a piece of his brain and skull.

“The only thing that could make it worse is Dan getting out to make us all afraid again,” Guerrette told the judge.

“The minimum he can do is spend his life behind bars so my wife and daughter are not afraid again.”

About 75 people watched the hearing, with 15 members of the Guerrette family sitting together.


Fortune had pleaded not guilty to all charges related to the attack, and denied harming anyone. He admitted to being in the home at the time of the attack with his roommate and foster brother, Leo R. Hylton, now 20.

Fortune said it was Hylton who repeatedly slashed the two.

On Thursday, he read a statement telling the Guerrettes “how truly, deeply sorry I am.”

In a low voice, he said he didn’t hit or attack any of them. “I will not admit to something I did not do,” he said.

Handcuffed to a belt around his waist, with his ankles shackled, Fortune asked the judge to spare him a life sentence and instead send him to prison for 15 years, so he could have a chance to turn his life around.

“Two years ago, I made a huge mistake,” he said, by going to the home, using a knife to cut a motion sensor and lying to police.


Murphy rejected Fortune’s plea for leniency, saying he played a leading role in planning the crimes.

“He was not simply an accomplice,” Murphy said. “He was, in the court’s view, equally if not more culpable than Mr. Hylton. Mr. Fortune was the leader, the person with the motive to eliminate witnesses in his pending (theft) case.”

Murphy described the aggravated attempted murder as heinous, depraved, premeditated and done with extreme cruelty. She said Fortune and Hylton were motivated “by a desire to murder anyone who might testify about the crimes.”

Hylton pleaded guilty to charges related to the home invasion and was sentenced in February to spend 50 years in prison and 15 years on probation.

The Guerrettes hugged in the courtroom after Thursday’s hearing, and hugged again and cheered outside.

They applauded the judge. “She’s sending a powerful message that Maine’s a safe place to live,” William Guerrette said, adding, “It’s over with. That’s the best.”


District Attorney Evert Fowle said it was rare for the prosecution to get a life sentence.

“Aside from colonial times, there’s never been a life sentence imposed in Maine for a non-homicide,” he said. “It’s a great day for justice in this county.”

A change in the state’s criminal code in 2001 made the crime of aggravated attempted murder punishable by life in prison.

After a seven-day jury trial in Skowhegan last month, Fortune was convicted of four counts of aggravated attempted murder of the two Guerrettes — two involving extreme cruelty and two involving premeditation — and a charge of attempted murder involving the three other family members who were in the home.

He also was convicted of two counts of elevated aggravated assault and one count each of robbery, burglary, conspiracy to commit robbery and violating conditions of release.

Before his trial, Fortune pleaded guilty to theft, failure to appear in court and violating conditions of release related to the theft of the safe in November 2007.


Fortune was a star athlete at Gardiner Area High School and on track for a postgraduate year at a prep school when his adoptive mother died, and his life began unraveling.

He was born in Haiti and adopted as a baby by a Waterville family. When that adoption failed, he was adopted by the Fortunes, who lived in Randolph, when he was 8.

On Thursday, no one spoke on Fortune’s behalf except his attorney, Pamela Ames.


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